Recognizing the Stranger: Recognition Scenes in the Gospel of John

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Durham only exists because of St Cuthbert, the 7 th century bishop of Lindisfarne whose community brought his body to our peninsula in the 10 th century and built a cathedral as his shrine. John belonged to the same Saxon Christian world. A native Northumbrian from Harpham, he came back to the north from Canterbury where he had been educated, and entered the double monastery at Whitby under its great abbess St Hild.

In the year that Cuthbert died, , he became bishop of Hexham and then of York, both sees connected with St Wilfrid who had been educated on Lindisfarne under St Aidan. But the direct link with Durham is through the Venerable Bede. His remains were brought to Durham in the 11 th century said to have been stolen by the monks of Durham from their resting place at Jarrow.

John of Beverley is another of them.

One of the reasons for this may be that John himself ordained Bede as priest early in the 8 th century. For many clergy, the bishop who ordained us is someone who holds a particular place in our affections and prayers.

Recognizing the Stranger: Recognition Scenes in the Gospel of John – By Kasper Bro Larsen

Perhaps it was like this for the young Bede. But the power of Jesus lies in his words as well as his works, says Luke. Indeed, the crowd, he says, had come out to listen to him as well as to find healing. Happy are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled!

Recognition Scenes in the Gospel of John

Happy are you who weep now, for you will laugh! And the secret of happiness is to live as Jesus did, in the light of the kingdom of God that he has come to announce and to embody in himself. Here, I think, are particular questions for all of you here in this Minster community and in this East Riding town. Like Durham and St Cuthbert, this church would not be the marvellous building it is were it not for the shrine of St John, and the way he was revered throughout medieval times.

Nor would the town would not be what it is.


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With this memory of the enormous following St John had enjoyed here, you wonder what went on in the minds of those who destroyed his shrine during the Reformation era and confiscated its great wealth. Sunday, 4 May Supper at Emmaus: a farewell sermon. Labels: chaplaincy , college , Emmaus , recognition , resurrection. Emmaus and a Winter's Tale. Leontes imagines that his friend Polixenes is having an affair with his wife Hermione. The drama shows a man eaten up by self-absorption and jealousy, his rapid disintegration bringing about the collapse of a whole family with the deaths of his wife and his young son.

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But then comedy breaks in. The famous stage direction exit, pursued by a bear introduces a note of parody as if nothing is quite what it seems. Well, he uses a device that puzzles critics because it seems to resort to trickery. But in a beautiful recognition scene she and Leontes are reunited and the play achieves catharsis.

Or is Shakespeare showing his mastery by merging tragedy and comedy in one art-work and making what is unbelievable at one level credible at another? I see resonances in The Winter's Tale of the central Christian story of the passion and resurrection of Christ. It seems to take us through a passion-like experience of suffering and pain into a realm of laughter, reconciliation and dancing that suggest resurrection and the kingdom of God.

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Which is why, when the statue comes to life and who envies the actor who has to stand there so still for so long? Theatre is always an act of faith for playwright, actors and above all, audience. In The Winter's Tale , we are drawn rather wonderfully into the life of things that are both tragic and comic.


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  4. Many of the Easter stories in the gospels are recognition scenes: the astonishing reversal of separation and loss in the joyful reunion of followers and friends with the risen Jesus. Soon after Jesus agreed to their request to stay, according to the Pope, "Jesus' face would disappear, yet the Master would 'stay' with them, hidden in the 'breaking of the bread' which had opened their eyes to recognize him. When minds are enlightened and hearts are enkindled, signs begin to 'speak'.

    Luke states that the two disciples' hearts were "burning" during their conversation with Jesus along the way to Emmaus, especially when he explained the Scriptures. They have gone through "a journey symbolizing their change of hearts from 'sad' to 'burning ' ", and they immediately returned to Jerusalem to share their experience with other fellows Luke Alfred McBride says that "enthusiasm flooded their whole being" when the two disciples have "encounter[ed] the Risen Christ" in the supper at Emmaus.

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    They sensed a must to share their happiness and the good news with another so that they were willing to go through a long walk back to Jerusalem. Both the encounter on the road and the ensuing supper have been depicted in art, but the supper has received more attention. Medieval art tends to show a moment before Jesus is recognized; Christ wears a large floppy hat to help explain the initial lack of recognition by the disciples. This is often a large pilgrim 's hat with badges or, rarely, a Jewish hat.

    However, the depiction of the supper has been a more popular theme, at least since the Renaissance , showing Jesus eating with the disciples. Often the moment of recognition is shown. Rembrandt 's depiction of the Supper builds on the etching that he did six years earlier, in which the disciple on the left had risen, hands clasped in prayer. In both depictions, the disciples are startled and in awe but not in fear. The servant is oblivious to the theophanic moment taking place during the supper. Caravaggio 's painting in London and his painting in Milan were six years apart, and both imitate natural color very well, but both were criticized for lack of decorum.

    Caravaggio depicted Jesus without a beard, and the London painting shows fruits on the table that are out of season. Moreover, the inn keeper is shown serving with a hat.

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    The supper was also the subject of one of Han van Meegeren 's most successful Vermeer forgeries. In literary art, the Emmaus theme is treated as early as the 12th century by Durham poet Laurentius in a semidramatic Latin poem. Oratory in Novara , 15th century. The Supper at Emmaus , Vincenzo Catena. Supper at Emmaus , Caravaggio , , London. Supper at Emmaus , Caravaggio , , Milan. The Emmaus Disciples , Abraham Bloemaert. The altar of Jungshoved Kirke. Sculpture by Bertel Thorvaldsen plaster. Barbie Doll home request.

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